Israel urges Poland to deny entry to British Holocaust denier David Irving

Minister Naftali Bennett says Irving will offend survivors and stoke anti-Semitism if he is allowed to lead tour of Nazi death camps in September

Holocaust denying writer and historian David Irving (AP/Alik Keplicz/File)
Holocaust denying writer and historian David Irving (AP/Alik Keplicz/File)

Israel on Wednesday urged the Polish government to deny entry to British Holocaust denier David Irving, who is planning to lead a tour of Nazi death camps in the country later this year.

Irving’s website is taking deposits for the tour of Nazi historical sites scheduled for September, the UK Jewish News reported Monday.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett said he had subsequently sent a letter to Poland’s ambassador to Israel, Marek Magierowski.

“Given Irving’s record of abhorrent statements and outright lies about the history of the Holocaust, it is quite clear that he intends to use this opportunity to spread further falsehoods and vitriolic narrative,” he wrote. “In so doing, he will doubtless cause deep offense to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to all the Jewish people, as well as stoke the already raging fire of hatred and anti-Semitism we are witnessing around the world today.

“I therefore respectfully request that the Government of Poland make it quite clear that Irving and his party will not be granted access to your country, and certainly not to the camps and other sites of memorial to the millions of my people who were murdered in that dark period of history,” Bennett added.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a conference in Ramat Gan , November 15, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Irving lost a libel suit he brought against Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in 2000. The suit was dramatized in the movie “Denial” starring Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt.

He initially claimed that Hitler was not aware of the program to exterminate the Jews. He later transitioned to outright Holocaust denial, including claiming that there was no evidence to prove the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Irving’s nine-day tour, which costs $3,650, is scheduled to visit Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Majdanek. Publicity for the tour calls the death camps “controversial.”

It also will visit the bunker headquarters of Adolf Hitler known as “The Wolf’s Lair” and the headquarters of SS chief Heinrich Himmler.

Irving is described in promotional material as a “Hitler expert.” He led a similar tour in 2013.

JTA contributed to this report.

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